By Ron Green in the Albany Democrat-Herald
Many years ago I started and ran a bicycle store, building it over 10 years to seven or eight employees. For the first year or so, my one worker was, like me, a disabled veteran with health care through the VA. I could tell insurance salesmen that our shop was covered by “socialized medicine” and that I wouldn’t need to spend that money except to buy bikes and accessories.
However, as we grew and began to hire new workers, I found myself looking for teenagers covered by their parents’ insurance, seniors with Medicare, or perhaps the spouse of someone with a big employer group plan – still commonplace in the 1970s and 80s. I didn’t want to see my associates without health care coverage, but I just couldn’t afford to divert precious cash flow away from the necessities of building and maintaining an independent enterprise.
I began to realize that if the United States had a universal, publicly funded system like the VA, and that if every new hire came to work already enrolled in high-quality care, then every entrepreneur, mom-and-pop business and startup would not have to deal with health insurance but could focus on their own expertise and their own operation. Additionally, employees would gravitate to the positions that are the best fit for them, rather than holding on to a wrong job just to keep their health care.
Given that a single-payer system will demonstrably save money for all Americans, small business needs to get behind it.